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5.2.4 Process for Children

This chapter was added to this manual in December 2013.

Referral to the Adoption Service should happen no later than the second review, but are now often alerted by the Permanency Tracking Panel which reports on any child that has been in the care of the Borough for longer than 5 weeks. Referrals are required on any child where adoption is one of the options for the child exiting the care of the borough. It does not need to wait until it is the primary plan as one function of the adoption team is to track the progress of the child in care to ensure that we are aware of the child and planning a possible adoption placement in the event that the court makes a Placement Order at the end of any proceedings.  

The child’s social worker refers the child to the adoption service by arranging a date for a Permanency Planning meeting with the Children Living Away From Home Team Administrator. They will provide a referral form for completion prior to the meeting and invite the foster carers supervising social worker. It is the responsibility of the Social Worker to invite the foster carer.

PPM’s are:

Held on a Friday morning and chaired by the adoption team manager. The purpose of the meeting is to consider the assessments which are being undertaken in relation to birth family members, extended family and friends and gather information regarding any court timescale for these.  It is then to consider the individual needs of the child day to day as well as needs in relation to ethnicity, religion, geography of placement etc;

  • The child’s social worker is provided with guidance on the processes and procedures which need to take place in order to achieve an adoption plan, e.g. obtaining an adoption medical, completing the Child permanence report and getting an adoption decision from the Agency Decision Maker in order to apply for a Placement Order. (See attached PPM checklist);
  • The social worker is also provided with a matching meeting template in order to start identifying the needs of the child for the purpose of family finding later in the process;
  • At the PPM a review date is set, dependent upon the information gained in relation to the court timescales. This can be a paper review, where an update is sought verbally or by email, or a review meeting being held.

Allocation: Cases will be allocated a family finding social worker based upon ‘the likelihood of adoption’. Where this is an unlikely part of the planning for a child, the team manager will track the case and any possible changes, in case adoption becomes a more viable option for a child.

Once a case is allocated the family finding social worker is required to do the following:

  • Consider possible matches with Redbridge Approved Adopters and those in assessment;
  • Gather information from the Consortium, Coram and the National register with regards to available adopters matching the child’s needs;
  • Compile a court statement re: availability of adopters when required;
  • Booked a provisional date with the photographer to complete DVD and photographs of the child within one week of a placement order being made;
  • Complete a draft profile prior to placement order for use in the event that this is made.

All Nelag profiles and returns will be sent by the Panel Administrator to the adoption email box, which will be cleared out each fortnight, on a Friday, by the duty worker. (Within a fortnight each social worker will have done one duty day and had an opportunity to see available profiles.) 

Profiling: Social workers are to send 2-3 photos and written information about the child to the Recruitment and Development Officer and they will complete a standardised Redbridge profile.  

Once a placement order is made: if a family has not been provisionally identified pre-placement order the family finding social worker seeks a placement immediately within:

  • The borough;
  • The consortium and Coram;
  • The National Adoption Register;
  • The child should also be added to the ‘mail shot’ - a list of agencies and LA’s which we have identified which the Recruitment and Development Officer can send bi-monthly profiles to.
  • In the event that these do not identify potential matches within one month, or where the child has immediately been identified as ‘hard to place’ the social worker refers the child to a national online publication, (either ‘children who wait’ or ‘be my parent’) as well as consulting the ‘Iaam project’ about the potential of a placement. 

Matching: It is the responsibility of the child’s social and the family finding worker to identify the most appropriate adopters, with the view of visiting no more than 2 potential families. Mangers can support with this task where this is complex or the child has specific needs.

  • If visiting more than one family the FF social worker is to ensure that both families know this to be the case;
  • A preliminary visit to prospective adopters has numerous functions:
    1. For the child’s social worker to detail the birth family and care history of the child and their current presentation and needs;
    2. To explore the motivation of the adopters in wanting to adopt this specific child;
    3. To explore how they will meet the identified needs of the child;
    4. To raise any queries from their PAR assessment;
    5. To enable them to ask questions about the child.
  • Prior to visits the FF social worker is to book a matching meeting that can be held no more than 2 days following those visits. The matching meeting will make the decision with regards to proceeding to a match and this is communicated to the adopter’s social workers by the FF social worker;
  • Selection of appropriate adopters is carried out using the list of needs of the child completed by the child’s social worker during the PPM review process;
  • At the matching meeting a provisional timetable will be made with regards to the meetings which need to take place in order to reach matching panel. A date for Panel will be agreed.

Placement checklist

Prior to placement the prospective adopters should have been given or undertaken the following:

  • Copy of the child’s CPR, DVD and photos - to be shared prior to and at visit to family;
  • Court reports, assessments and document s agreed for disclosure by the court - child’s social worker to provide to the prospective adopters;
  • Meeting with the medical advisor to include receiving a copy of the child’s adoption medical - at the current time this needs to be arranged on an individual basis with the medical advisor and is the responsibility of the FF Social worker to coordinate;
  • Meeting with the current foster carers, child’s SW and family finding SW - to be arranged by the FF social worker and to take place within the adopter’s home where appropriate;
  • Meeting with school and being given copies of PEP’s where applicable - child’s social worker to arrange;
  • Contributed to the Adoption Placement Report - supported by the adopters social worker.  The rest of the APR is completed by the child’s social worker, also adding the matching meeting minutes with regards to how the adopters will meet the child’s needs;
  • Agreed the Adoption Support Plan - to be completed by the child’s social worker, FF social worker and the adopter’s social worker using the Redbridge template;
  • Had sight of the introductions plan and given feedback where appropriate - to be completed by the FF social worker

The intro plan needs to consider:

  • When will the adopter’s family book and DVD be shared with the child?
  • Who is doing placement preparation work with the child?
  • Foster carer visits post placement with adopters;
  • Introduction planning meeting and review meeting dates;
  • Social work visits during introductions - to Inc. 1st day of intros, monitoring visit and being present on moving day. 

The adopters need to have signed and returned to the adoption social worker the:

  • Social Media confidentiality form;
  • Document confidentiality form;
  • Parental Responsibility agreement form.

The APR and ASP should be given to the adopters 10 days prior to submission to panel admin. 

Placement: Following matching panel and ADM the Introduction planning meeting will be held to Inc. Adopters, their social worker, child’s social worker, family finding social worker, foster carer and their social worker. 

To be given at the introductions meeting/review of introductions meeting / Placement day:

Matching certificate;

  • Child record of health (red book);
  • Letter for consent to register at the GP (if required);
  • Letter for consent to apply for Child Benefit (if required);
  • Two certified copies of the Child’s Birth Certificate;
  • Copy of the Placement Order.

To be provided / completed post placement:

  • Life story book - no later than 10 days post adoption order being made;
  • Later Life Letter - no later than 10 days post adoption order being made;
  • Contact agreement forms - copy held on file and one to post adoption worker;
  • Meeting with birth parent.